The Makita XBU04PTV is 36V cordless leaf blower that has the equivalent power of a gas model. Think about that for a second. Battery technology has been advancing at a rapid pace over the past few years. Makita even released a cordless earth auger in 2021, which also rivals gas power. Why would you buy a battery-powered leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher? Well, because of all the leaves of course. How else are you going to clean-up all of those annoying leaves?
Leaves, Oh My! Beauty of Cordless…
Autumn may be a beautiful time of year, but it’s not without its problems. One of the most obvious of these problems is the sea of golden brown leaves that ends up covering our lawns, driveways, and any other vaguely flat surface within a quarter-mile of a tree.
Leaf blowers are, of course, the most obvious solution to this problem-unless you want to spend half your life with a garden rake in your hands-but there’s more to it than simply heading down to the nearest DIY store and picking one up.
A leaf blower is a significant purchase for your garden-or gardening business-and purchasing the wrong one can end up not making your life any easier. In some cases, it can even make getting rid of leaves more of a chore than it would have been! I don’t want that to happen to you, so we’ve put together this handy guide to blowing leaves. We’ve also shone our expert spotlight on a few leaf blower models for you to consider.
Review : Makita XBU04PTV
- 3-tools-in-1: vacuum, mulcher and blower for convenient clean-up
- Easily converts from blower to vacuum / mulcher with Vacuum Attachment Kit
- Makita-built Brushless Motor delivers up to 473 CFM and 120 MPH
- 10:1 mulch ratio reduces up to 10 bags of leaves down to 1 bag with shredding blade
- Precision suction power designed for fallen leaf cleanup without altering stone and rock settings in plant beds
- Collection bag holds up to 1.4 bushels of leaves
- Cruise control lever with variable speed trigger for power and run time management
- Speed lock for convenient continuous operation
- Commercial design for heavy duty applications
- 3-stage telescoping blower nozzle features an adjustment range of 5″ extending pipe closer to ground for user convenience
- Lightweight and ergonomic design for operator comfort and control
- Sound pressure rating of 61 dB(A); measured per ANSI B 175.2 standard
- Rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort on the job
- Features Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™) engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions
- Equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls™ to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
- 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery and charger
The Makita XBU04PTV is a commercial-grade consumer leaf blower that is built for some heavy lifting. If you are tackling large areas of land, this leaf blower has the power, features, and build quality to get the job done and last a long time doing it. If you just need something for an average-sized yard, this may be a little on the pricey side.
Nicely occupying the upper tier of what you can expect from a cordless leaf blower, the XBU04PTV puts out a strong 473 CFM/120MPH, making it a great middle-ground leaf blower between our next two picks.
Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of this leaf blower is its noise level-a relatively quiet 61 dB. It features mulching capabilities to the tune of a 10:1 ratio, meaning it can mulch 10 bags of leaves down to a single bag of mulch.
Other features include variable speed settings and cruise control, which makes it easier to maintain the current speed easily.
Visit the Makita site to learn more.
Review : Worx WG583
- 40V leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher with (2) 4.0Ah Power Share batteries delivers 350 CFM to blow, vac, and mulch leaves… without a cord.
- 40V cordless blower/vac/mulcher features a high-efficiency brushless motor for more power, extended runtime, and longer life.
- 12:1 mulch ratio — Durable, 2-stage impeller design shreds 12 piles of leaves into 1.
- One-step toolless blower to vac conversion — comes with two tubes for dedicated mode conversion from leaf blower, to leaf vacuum & leaf mulcher.
- Two-speeds for added control in tight spaces or large areas.
- Lightweight blower & wheeled vac-tube reduces user strain and fatigue.
- Battery-powered leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher features charge level indicator for quick reference to remaining runtime.
- 4A dual charger — charges (2) 4.0Ah batteries in 2 hrs.
- Worx Power Share is compatible with all Worx 20V and 40V power tools, outdoor power and lifestyle products.
The WG583 is an affordable cordless leaf blower that is perfect for homeowners who just want something to take care of their yard with. It is a light, user-friendly blower that anyone should be able to get to grips with.
For the typical homeowner with a modest garden, a big, noisy gas-powered leaf blower will seem unnecessary, and that is where the Worx WG583 comes in.
For the size and weight, the WG583’s output of 380 CFM/185MPH is quite respectable, though you won’t be doing any heavy-duty work with this one. It has two-speed settings mulching capabilities, with a mulching ratio of 12:1. It’s a little noisier than my first pick, but not by a huge amount.
Review : Craftsman BV245 / Gas Leaf Blower & Vacuum
- POWERFUL ENGINE: High performance 27cc 2-cycle gas engine with air volume and air speed up to 450 CFM/205 mph for quick and efficient blowing.
- VACUUM KIT INCLUDED: Vacuum 1.5-Bushel capacity bag for collecting leaves and debris with 16:1 debris reduction ratio.
- USER FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT: User friendly features such as the lightweight design to reduce user fatigue, variable speed throttle for more control, and the comfort over mold handle to absorb and reduce vibration.
- EASY-START TECHNOLOGY: Faster starts with 3 simple steps: prime, choke, and pull helping you get to work right away.
- 2-CYCLE ENGINE OIL: Oil included with purchase for your convenience.
The BV245 is a gas-powered leaf blower that does duty for a homeowner with a large parcel of land, or as a professional tool for a business owner with a modest client base.
Being gas-powered, this leaf blower is a little on the loud and heavy side compared to my other two selections, but, in the grand scheme of gas-powered leaf blowers, it is actually quite light and quiet. Of course, this comes at a cost, with the BV245 comparing unfavorably to other gas-powered leaf blowers, but that does not make it a bad choice.
Its 27 cc, 2-cycle engine is able to put out a respectable 450 CFM at 205MPH, while variable speed settings give you more control over your work. It features vacuum and mulching capabilities, with a mulching ratio of 16:1
Gas vs Electric Leaf Blowers
If you’d like a thorough look at this topic, you might want to check out or dedicated post on it-Electric Vs Gas Leaf Blower-but here’s a bite-sized version of that post for your convenience.
While electric leaf blowers are powered by an electric motor, gas leaf blowers utilize a small engine, not unlike what you would find in a car or motorcycle. Neither type is objectively better than the other, it all comes down to your situation.
Electric leaf blowers are often lighter, quieter, and less cumbersome. However, they cannot match gas leaf blowers for power. And, in the case of cordless electric leaf blowers, gas-powered blowers typically last longer on a full tank than electric ones do on a full battery.
If you have large areas to clean-particularly if they are far from electrical outlets-an electric leaf blower will likely be impractical. On the other hand, if you are just blowing your own lawn, and you don’t live in a mansion, a gas-powered leaf blower would be a lot of extra weight and noise that you didn’t need.
Cordless vs Electric Leaf Blowers
In terms of the leaf blower itself, there isn’t a great deal of difference, since both use electric motors to do their work. In practice, however, corded leaf blowers tend to be on the weaker side. This is largely because a corded leaf blower is unlikely to be used on large spaces, since it would require a whole mess of extension cables to get power to it.
For that reason, corded leaf blowers tend to be firmly limited to the small garden section of the market, whereas cordless leaf blowers can rival some gas-powered options for power.
Of course, cordless leaf blowers have the disadvantage of needing their batteries charging periodically, something that wired leaf blowers do not need at all. Gas-powered leaf blowers need fuel, of course, but they generally last longer than a battery.
What Should I do With the Leaves?
You should have an ultimate disposal method in mind before you start, as how you intend to dispose of the leaves will likely affect how best to go about the leaf blowing itself.
Wooded Area or Compost Pile
One of the best things to do with leaves is to let nature take care of them the way it would have if you weren’t around to tidy them up. Of course, you don’t want to let the leaves decompose on your lawn, but if you have a wooded area on your property or a compost pile, that’s an ideal spot to dispose of your leaves.
You can start carving sections of the garden’s leaf population away with your blower, directing them to the spot they will be happily decomposing in for the foreseeable future. Don’t try to blow too much at once, or you’ll just end up making more of the mess you are trying to clean.
Not everyone has a wooded area on their property-or a compost heap for that matter-but you should still dispose of your green waste responsibly. Unfortunately, that often means transporting it to an appropriate green waste site.
In this case, you should gather your leaves into a neat pile that is as convenient as possible for the task at hand. This is to say that it should be as equidistant from all the spots you will be blowing as you can get. This should save you having to blow your leaves across unnecessarily long distances.
If the area is particularly large, consider putting a tarp down under the spot you intend to pile your leaves on, as this will make it much easier to pick them up after the fact.
Once you’re done, you can use your hands to scoop the leaves into your truck, or grab the corners of the tarp and bundle the pile up into a makeshift sack.
Bag It Up
You’ll want to check your local regulations to see what the specifics are, such as what bags you need to use, but bagging your leaves up is another option. It’s not a particularly practical option for large areas, but for smaller gardens, this is something to consider.
To do this, just make a pile as detailed above in the green waste section. When you’re ready, get your bags and start scooping those leaves in. You can use tools for this, but you will often find that a pair of gloves and your hands do the trick best.
Some states send out vacuum trucks to essentially hoover up the leaves at the side of the road to prevent them from clogging up drains and blocking fire hydrants. If you live in such a stage, you could always blow your leaves up to the curb, ready to be sucked up.
What is CFM?
CFM is an important factor when buying a leaf blower, but what is it? We’ve already covered this in more detail, so I won’t go crazy here. If you’d like a more detailed explanation, head over to our post on What is a Good CFM for a Leaf Blower.
Essentially, the CFM is the amount of air your leaf blower is hurling at the leaves every minute. It is inextricably linked to the speed of the leaf blower-which is usually measured in miles per hour-but it is not necessarily an indicator of that speed. This is because CFM is a measure of volume.
Think of it like this; have you ever put your finger over the end of a running hose so that the water comes out in a thin, violent jet? This is because the same volume of water is trying to get through a narrower opening, the net result is that you have the same volume of water coming out at a much faster speed.
So, while the CFM of a leaf blower is linked to speed, it is not necessarily a measure of blowing power. A leaf blower could have a huge CFM and an enormous blower tube, and the actual speed would be very low.
This tends not to happen, however, as leaf blower manufacturers are constantly trying to extract the highest possible CFM from their hardware, and there is absolutely no benefit to making that CFM less effective.
The important takeaway here, however, is that a higher CFM is good, but you should pay attention to the speed of the blower as well.
What is a Good CFM for a Leaf Blower?
As informative as all that is, it doesn’t really help you decide which leaf blower to get. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there is no straightforward answer to this question, as a good CFM is dependent on what kind of leaf blower it is.
For handheld blowers-the lightest and most maneuverable design-you should expect between 350 and 600 CFM with speeds up to 190 MPH. Corded models can range from a paltry 225 CFM at 60 MPH-which isn’t really worth anyone’s money-to a more respectable 470 CFM at 270 MPH.
Cordless models can land anywhere between 350 and 580 CFM, with speeds between 120 and 168 MPH. It’s also worth noting that leaf blowers that are powered by electricity tend to be lighter and easier to maneuver.
Larger leaf blowers, such as backpack and walk-behind models, can be between 580 and 632 CFM, with speeds of between 145 and 180 MPH.
So, when buying a leaf blower, you want your CFM to be within the typical ranges for that type of blower. Or, rather, you don’t want your CFM to be less than the low end of those ranges.
A Quick Guide to Leaf Blower Technique
If you’re new to the world of leaf blowers, it’s not enough to know which leaf blower is right for your situation, you also need to know how to use it! Sure, the basic premise is simple enough-you point the blowy bit at the leaves-but you can easily find yourself in more of a mess than you started with if you don’t exercise a little caution and know-how. Here’s a quick guide to using your leaf blower.
Choose the Right Leaf Blower
The first step along the path to leaf blowing success is to choose the leaf blower that best suits your situation. If money is no object, by all means by the biggest and best leaf blower on the market. That being said, if money is no object, you might consider just hiring someone to take care of it for you.
For the rest of us, finances are a significant consideration, and we don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars more for leaf blowing power we don’t need. Just make sure the blower you choose is up to the task, because an underpowered blower will be more frustrating than convenient.
Manage Your Expectations
Leaf blowers are incredibly convenient, but they’re not the most precise tool in the garden shed. You’re not going to get every single leaf into a nice neat pile with this tool, and you shouldn’t try. You’ll end up spending a whole day chasing individual leaves around.
The trick is to get the majority of the leaves into a pile-possibly on a tarp for easier removal-and then go around for a final clean-up with a rake, spike, or even your bare hands, and get the stray leaves. You could even use the leaf blowers vacuum setting for this.
Don’t Ignore the Weather
Wet leaves aren’t ideal when you’re using a leaf blower. They’re harder to move, and they stick to just about anything they come in contact with. Wherever possible, you should give wet leaves a chance to dry before hitting them with the blower.
Wind is another problem. There isn’t a leaf blower in existence that can compete with the awesome power of mother nature, so don’t try. If it’s a windy day, your nice and neat leaf pile is just going to get blown all over the place, making all your work for nothing.
Use the Leaf Blower the Right Way
As with any tool, you will make your life a lot more pleasant by using it properly. Before you start, know where you intend to create your leaf pile. You want to only blow in one direction, so if your pile was smack bang in the middle of a large yard, you would work your way in from the outside and then head on back to the edge to start over.
Hold the leaf blower at your side and point it at the ground with a shallow angle, using a smooth back and forth motion. Be sure to maintain good posture, as slouching can lead to back pain, especially if you do this a lot.
Finally, don’t neglect protection for your eyes and ears. Even relatively quiet leaf blowers put out quite a bit of noise when your head is a foot away. And there will be small debris flying all over, such as little twigs and stones, so be sure to wear some kind of eye protection.